‘High impact’ journals refer to research publications that are considered prestigious, in part due to their association with publishing good quality science. For researchers, publishing in these journals means getting your research to a wider audience and is intrinsically linked to career progression. But, these journals represent a tiny fraction of the total research publishing space. So the question were posing to the brains today relates to whether or not the influence of these journals on research has gotten out of control. It’s a topical issue, and a key part of a broader debate currently being had on the publishing model in general.
The impact of journals can be measured in many ways. A common metric is a journals ‘Impact Factor’ (IF), which is number of citations of articles in the publication has had relative to the number of articles published. You can see the ranking of the top biology journals by IF in the graph on the left. What is clear here is that a few journals, namely Nature, Cell and Science, are in a league of their own when it comes to impact. This makes these journals very popular places to publish, and also very competitive.
Our Brains had some interesting responses to this topic, not all agreeing with each other. Crucially, how much power these journals really hold is difficult to judge and contentious. Click on any of the links below to read the different responses and help form your own opinion.
One fact that all the brains agreed on what the importance of publishing in these journals to academic success. However, they differed of their views of how much these journals determined what ‘good science’ really is. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!